City Kill House

As a child, I used to beg my parents not to drive by it. “Please, can we take another road to get there?” I’d plead.

I’d have a visceral reaction on approaching this place. My insides would fill up with a sickening feeling like the air was choked with poison. My skin would prickle. Terror. Revulsion. Anger. Pain. Screaming. I could feel them scream. And how no one cared to stop it. What a world we live in. We turn so many blind eyes; it’s a wonder we see anything at all.

I hated being anywhere near this part of town because of the abattoir. On the edge of the east of Glasgow city centre — less than a mile away. It even had its own cattle ramp for the animals arriving by train at night.

The abattoir and meat market was in operation from 1911 to 2001. I can’t go through this area without thinking of the slaughter.

Since its closure, part of the site was used as a city car auctioneer, but that has long since moved too. Some of the facades remain intact and front a modern apartment development, which was part of the area’s regeneration. Behind those, overgrowth tries to reclaim the bones of remaining structures. New developers will move in soon.

It may look a certain way on the surface… I can still hear them.

The inscription on the calf sculpture reads:

Animals came from over the horizon

They belonged there & here likewise

They were mortal & immortal

Each lion was lion & each ox was ox.